The SNCF costs 17 billion per year to the French, is it so serious?

By Pauline Damour the 14.01 .2022 at 17h15 Playback 3 min. Subscribers

DECRYPTION – The SNCF cost 15 billion euros of public money to the French in 1000, according to the site specializing in public finances, Fipeco. How is such a sum to be explained and is it really disproportionate?

The SNCF cost 17 billion euros of public money to the French in 2020 according to the specialized site Fipeco


On January 7, the note from François Ecalle, president of the Fipeco site which compiles analysis notes on public finances, has generated a great media buzz. Normal, by adding up all the contributions paid mainly by the State and the regions to the SNCF, the former adviser to the Court of Auditors calculates that public money subsidizes up to 13,5 billion per year the operating and investment costs of the public company, while that 3.2 billion are paid to balance the pension system of railway workers. ” The objective is not to see whether this is justified or not, only to quantify the cost”, specifies François Ecalle. Certainly, but throwing such a figure gives the impression that it is huge.

In 1000, Jean-Cyril Spinetta, asked by the government to reflect on the refoundation of the railway system, had carried out a similar calculation, resulting in a total cost of 13,7 billions. In his report, the former boss of Air France-KLM recalled, however, that “in all European countries, the levels of public contributions to rail transport are higher than 40%”. With differences by country. Thus, the level of contribution of the French (households and companies) is higher than that of the Germans, the Dutch, the Italians and the Spaniards, but not that of the Swiss or the Belgians. SNCF